Johnny, Concord, MA. As a gay Asian man married to a white man with two adopted children of color (one black, one Latino), I came to understand my own racial identity trough the experience of welcoming our two children into our family. It’s taught me that to really provide a strong racial identity for my […]
Britt Verstegen, Socorro, NM. I grew up as a blonde, blue-eyed kid in an interracial family within a racially diverse neighborhood of inner-city Detroit. My step-father is Black and my sisters are biracial. Due to my family composition, I became aware of white privilege at an early age. For example, I knew in third grade […]
Harold Svignor, New York, NY. Humans inherently think in “Me up – You down” terms. We are innately tribal, and somewhat hostile to “the other”. That proclivity has created not only tribal strife, but war, sport, and many other human traits. It is universal and cannot be overcome….except by religious self denial. Non-caucasians have yet […]
Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]
C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]
Brittany Carney, Washington, DC. As a person that is three quarters African American and one quarter Japanese, I feel that culturally I’m the other away around.
Zoe Zeerip, Rockford, MI. The elders in my family still believe race defines relationship.
John Campbell, Saline, MI.
James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]
Kristen Ellerbe, Richmond, VA. Calling me an Oreo or not really black, or basically a white girl means that you define some part of my personality, attitude, preferences, or demeanor as being owned and attributed solely to white people. Is it my intelligence, my sense of style, or how I speak? Is it because I’m […]
Nancy Wilson Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation Misunderstanding is breaking my hopeful heart. I was robbed by a black man I’d smiled at on the street. I still smile at people on the street. But, I might hold my purse tighter. I was robbed by a black man I’d looked in the eyes […]
Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]
Aurlyn Ellyse Wygle, Lewisville, TX. My husband and I are both caucasian. We have decided to make adoption our “plan A” and have a particular heart for children from hard places. This led us to become foster parents. As we parent these precious, beautiful brown babies we have noticed a trend. African American adults are […]
Jonathan Bennett, Forest, VA. The only problem is it does and to too many. America, the America I grew up in, was described as a melting pot where diversity was supposedly celebrated. Now I see that there was always a thin veneer of racism strewn throughout my childhood that still persists today, especially with this […]
Kelly Wickham, Springfield, IL. When I was born the white nurse told my mom that “mixed” wasn’t a category and she put “white” on my birth certificate, but my mother knew she’d be raising a child that the world would identify as black and she raised me as such.
Debra Rosenberg, Phoenix, AZ. I am the person I am meant to be, and proud to be a Jew even though growing up I knew what it was like to be “Black”. I had to overcome many obstacles of prejudices.
Demarcus Robinson Park Forest, IL I’ve been thinking about how, as an African-American, I and other minorities actively think about out race as opposed to our Caucasian counterparts. It’s not that I’m thinking “I”m black, I’m black, I’m black” every second of the day, but I know that certain situations force the thought upon me, […]
Brent Hixson Des Moines, IA Why is our culture so tied up in image? For a young Black or Latino to walk into a store with hood down and face fully exposed is perceived as weak. Actions must always portray power, in charge and make others around them uncomfortable and then ask the question why […]
Courtney, Wyoming, MI. All this pride to be black, white, brown, American, whatever, just let it go. You didn’t put any work to be the color you are, or the country you were born, it just happened. You can love who you are or where you are from, outside of being prideful. I’m not certain […]
Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]
Gabriella Grange, Plano, TX. Before coming to college, I always thought of myself as a black person. But when I got to college a few years ago, I heard people use the term “people of color” and it boggled me. Even though the term is used to foster solidarity, the term can be used to […]
Lorna Dianne Stookey Fredericktown, MO It cut deep, the aftermath of the 2008 election. I woke up to find racism splashed across the front page: “We finally got one of OURS in the White House.” Whose “ours” was he? He’s multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multiracial! He’s European American and African American. He’s “Everyman.” Could have been […]
Samantha Ciena Potsdam, NY
James Michael Rogers Houston, TX I was at my neighborhood park one morning jogging, and I saw three white women walking abreast in one direction, and a black woman coming towards them in the opposite direction. The white women ignored the black woman and no one stepped back to let the black lady pass, and […]
Patricia Linderman, Mexico. I’m the spouse of a US diplomat, and we have lived in four Latin American countries for a total of 11 years. We have sometimes seen strong discrimination and heard ugly remarks against people in these societies with darker skin color. It is definitely not just a U.S. and European problem. Besides […]
Jason, Kansas City, MO, . Awesome project.
Chris Porter Seattle, WA History and TV have provided many roles, mostly negative, for black males. Our society rarely sees black men in the role of care taker or nurse, providing nursing care and in the role of leader particularly in a female dominated profession. It has been my life’s mission to tear down that […]
D Maduli-Williams Submitted via Twitter: @dmaduliwilliams
Ernest Henson, Longview, TX. African first question Black man’s last
Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]
Alfred Eric Richner Prieto, Duluth, GA. 14% and Iberian, Dominican,, Swiss, Scandinavian. We are all in this world together.
Joanna Baker Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Mike Tracy, Oakland, CA. When I was 3 or 4 I asked my parents to put brown sugar on my oatmeal so I could grow up to be a running back like Jim Brown or Floyd Little.
Tony Williams, Detroit, MI. Change in America is slow. I find it disheartening to witness the incarceration of African American men at this current level. The battle begins after the release from jail or prison. A criminal record is just slavery by another name.
Asmaa Benbaba, Auburn, AL. In more instances than one, the veil is considered as a symbol of subservience and exclusion by western media. As a result, a lot of people reproduce the same thoughts and behavior towards those women who choose the veil as an identity and refuse to think critically of the socio-cultural and […]
Leonard McReynolds, Atlanta, GA. I’m a black Puerto Rican who lives in the United States. At Times, it makes navigating race relations difficult, for everyone likes to put me in a box. Either I am not black enough because I speak Spanish, or not Puerto Rican enough because I am black. However, I will not […]
Pamela Bivens, M.A., Durham, NC. Awesome project!!
Ted Mittelstaedt, Portland, OR. I was born in 1966 and by age 13 I knew how to solder and by age 15 I was building electronic devices from schematics. By age 20 I had taken apart and put back together several different kinds of computers and written code in assembly language. I also have a […]
Paul Avery, Chicago, IL. I am part Mexican and Black, live in Chicago, going to City Colleges, wish I could leave earth for a planet where gay men made up 80% of world population.
Mike R., Midlothian, VA. My six words reflect the reality that even with the increasing diversity in the U.S. and the increased interactions across racial and ethnic lines, White supremacy still exists. I think many people naively assume that the increasing diversity will solve our racial problems. However, racial segregation still exists, under investment in […]
Anne Lincoln, MA I was asked by Admissions if I would agree to having a black roommate. I said yes, but when she learned of the request (I never knew how), she was angry–at the school, and confusing to me, at me. From that moment on, there was only anger. I was naive and woefully […]
Anonymous, Columbus, OH. I am mixed race and have always felt in the middle in terms of race. “Legally” I am Black and more often than not experience the same benefits and determents as the Black side of my family. I have also had the misfortune of being mistreated by both races for being “light […]
Mat Johnson, Submitted via Twitter: @mat_johnson
Diane, Fairbanksm, AK. Images of Alaska never show Black faces, but yet in Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city, the Black population is equal to that of Alaska Natives. We have been effectively erased from our own history and present day lives. I work with tourists and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t […]
Brian Roberts, Gaithersburg, MD. I am a middle-aged American black man. I thought that if I lived my life as a solid citizen, went to the right schools, secured a good career, raised a family, I would not only provide for my family, I would set an example that would make white people less frightened […]
Rena Joy Dunbar, Eugene, OR. Our Black and White bi-racial identity was questioned even before we emerged from the womb. What ‘race’ would we turn out to be? Which ‘race’ would we choose? These questions and the dual nature of our identities continue to challenge perceptions.
Jan Miles, New Orleans, LA. I’m not a woman–I’m a BLACK woman. I’m not a writer–I’m a BLACK writer. In law school, I was a BLACK law student. If I kill my brother, it’s BLACK-on-black crime. Just as white privilege is societally applied (rather than being internally rooted), blackness is also applied by society. I […]
Elizabeth S, USA. Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in […]
Dr. Brian K. Clardy, Murray, KY.
Terri Davis, Cleveland, OH. I don’t discount the experiences of other black people, I just haven’t had the same encounters. Why do people think that I should have? I suppose I avoid confrontations by not doing things to draw attention to myself. I don’t pay attention to others who may be watching me and waiting […]
Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]
Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]
Melissa Weir, Trout Valley, IL. We like to think that we are like every other family, whatever that means. But questions like “are those your real kids” or “what happened to their real parents” make that impossible. Nonetheless we are a close, joyful, and fortunate family.
Lauren Anderson Kansas City, MO I’m not sure what I would consider myself. The only thing that I know is that I am brown-skinned, but light-skinned. Many believe I am mixed with another race or other race(s), but my parents are both Black. I’m not really sure what it means to be Black or where […]
Jane Meacham, Washington, DC. My dad is a lawyer in Kansas City, MO, who always had mostly black, working-class clients. When the city school district started to decline in quality in the early 1970s, we moved away to a nearly all-white suburban school district nearby. So I realize now, all these years later, that his […]
Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.
Timothy Jodi, Mountain View, CA. Being black or white doesn’t make us any different from others. We are all equal despite our color, gender, and ethnicity. I believe that we have the same equal rights no matter our race is. We are all human being.
Jan Ramer, Indianapolis, IN. I lived in Rwanda for 2.5 years, and got a small taste of what it is like to be in the racial minority. The larger lesson for me was that we humans can define “other” in many ways, not simply the color of our skin, and even more importantly, we CAN […]
Alyssa Banas, VA. Before I attended college, I was known as the “quiet girl” that sat in the back of the class. I loved meeting new people, but I just had a hard time communicating with people without being shy. My teachers always told me to participate in class because the ideas I wrote down […]
Donna Cook, Roseville, MN. I have very fair skin, Fitzpatrick Scale I, and growing up in Los Angeles meant lots of unintended, fairly serious, and wretchedly painful sunburns. I was also a bit of a tomboy wild child who would refuse to let my mother brush my hair, hair she intentionally left long as a […]
Eric N. Harris, Chicago, IL. At age 40, I’ve come to realize that Life is the Classroom of Knowledge and I still have a lot to learn. May both my Race Card + accompanying photo show it.
Alonzo Felder, Durham, NC. Called by many names over the years.
August A. Goins Jr., Atlanta, GA. Growing up as a light skin black man of creole decent, people assume I want to be white. Not because of something I said or did, but based solely on my skin color. As if I had a choice of my skin color. I’m proud of who I am, […]
James Edward Mills, Madison, WI. On June 24,2013 Adina Scott made a satellite phone dispatch from 17,200 feet on Mount McKinley in Denali National Park. As part of the climbing team Expedition Denali, she and the 18 others had already spent a total of 16 days on the mountain and nearly a week camped at […]
Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]
Dennis Jack Higgs Saint Peters, MO I was raised in West Texas in the 50’s and 60’s. Although racism was rampant around us, we were not raised to be racist. I am now in my mid sixties and still to this day, one incident, when I was about six or seven years old, that lasted […]
Ebony, Farmington Hills, MI. I grew up in a place where Black people felt they made it. A suburban community where the majority of residents were Black, employed, and thriving. It was wonderful growing up in this setting but it created unrealistic expectations for what the “real world” was and what life is like for […]
Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]
Natalie Mariam Pattillo Alpine, TX It always seems that my ethnic background becomes a guessing game at dinner parties. Even strangers will come up to me and ask me “what are you..wait, let me guess…egyptian, hispanic, black.,? Usually, I want to say “I’m a human” but I allow the guessing game to continue until they’ve […]
Brianna Branch Norfolk, VA I’m black and therefore I am seen as a threat to others because of my skin color. I have never tried to or had the desire to harm someone else. Sometimes people lock their doors when they see my friends and I walk past and yell racists comments out of the […]
Luis Toro, Denver, CO. They try to tell us Hispanics are either white or black but my family’s ancestry is definitely Native American, we even know what tribes.
Big Tex, Submitted via Twitter: @bigtexmarketing
Taylor Yarbrough, New York, NY.
Alexander Belisle, Bronx, NY. My mother is Latvian and my father is from Belize but all my life I passed as white. I always listened to the prejudicial biases expressed by others who were unaware of my ancestry.
Marlot Roads, West STL County, CO. March 10 1964 Frankfort, KY
Ernest Leon Tyree Jr Dravosburg, PA After spending 12 years in the military I learned a lot about fear and the power it holds. One the most powerful motivators is fear which is unfortunate, that being said the person who holds the power has a great responsibility to know that people fear them and to […]
Anne Gruel, Canada. My partner is from Jamaica and identifies as mixed race. His parents are black, but he has very light skin and has many white ancestors. I hate it when people ask: “Is your boyfriend black?” Yes, he is black. No problem with that. What they are really asking me is why am […]
Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]
Taylor Jackson, Tuscaloosa, AL. The race card might come off as confusing since I am a white man and my race card has a different race in it, but I hear that phrase all the time these days and that is really sad that this generation has come to this when bad things happen around […]
Mary Mills, Los Angeles, CA. I am a black female surfer. (What stereotypes?)
My 6 word memoir is about my family because I am Mexican, but my cousins are black and Mexican. Most of my family is Mexican because my mom’s side is all Mexican and so is my dad’s side. But on my mom’s side I have black cousins. Some experiences I’ve had with racism is when […]
Bill Geraci Blue Island, IL Six? Who needs six? I can do it in five. Ask if you’re interested. (FYI: Mom and I were white and this was (fortunately) a long time ago.)
Patrick Lawrence, Chandler, AZ. Growing up white in Hawaii during the seventy’s the color of my skin gave 85% of the population an excuse to hate and attack me daily.
Danielle Petterson, Tampa, FL. I have light brown skin and I consider myself to be mixed. Most people have a simple-minded belief that “mixed” means that one parent is black while the other is white. To me, it runs so much deeper than that. I have 4 grandparents from 4 different countries: Puerto Rico, Curaçao, […]
Jessica Elaine Burks, San Diego, CA. I am Black, Irish, and Native American. My paternal grandmother had straight long hair. My maternal grandmother had 4c textured hair. All my life I believed the myth that “good hair and long hair” do not belong to black women with 4C textured hair. My friends and even family […]
Sandy Balazic, Tempe, AZ The year was 1960 and I was 4 years old. My parents had a housekeeper/babysitter to help while they both worked. One day my father noticed that she would sneak me off behind the basement door on the landing where she kept her personal belongings. When he asked me about this, […]
Maureen Shaw, Durham, NC. Thank you for doing this. This is a photo of my mother’s family, this is the reason why I wrote it’s okay to be black. I look at it an feel so proud of this photo. We let ourselves believe we are a people are people with shattered history. I’ve discovered […]
Anon Ymous Charlotte, NC “Replaced slavery chains with entitlement chains” As a white with guilt, all I can say is: I’m so sorry, twice…
Sarah Walton Nashville, TN I descend directly from southern slave-owners and, more recently, racists. My family’s wealth is built on the backs of over a thousand slaves. It is my karmic duty to be a social-justice & race-relations activist; to call for reparations; to march; to force as many friends & family to look through […]
Michael, San Rafael, CA. While all races practiced slavery, Whites were the ones to end it. All Christian White countries ended slavery approximately 150 years ago but sadly it is still practiced by Blacks, Asians, Asian-Indians and Muslim Whites today.
Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]
Mary Ann Paris Philadelphia, PA Except for my brother, there were never any children who looked like me. I am black and white, more specifically black, jewish, german, irish, italian and polish and my brother and I have European features. We grew up in a segregated part of Philadelphia among black children. They never wanted […]
Kevin Simpson, Chicago, IL. Powerful activity
Kimberly, Detroit, MI. I was just listening to Talk of the Nation with Celeste Headlee discussing Navigating The Lines Between Ethnicity And Identity and I could relate to notion of being biracial and adopted into a white family and having to explore my identity through education and exposure to other black people. I’ve learned that […]
Sarah Martin, Wichita, KS. Perhaps this is my artistic side coming out, but when you paint a human being, they are not painted simply using white or black. No, they are painted with a wide variety of colors that blend together to make a beautiful picture. Too often people separate persons into categories that divide […]
ROBERT EDWARD NOEL Fairfield, CA AGE 4 DARK BALTIMORE EVENING AS MY MOTHER AND I WERE STARTING TO GET INTO OUR CARE A BLACK CHILD MY AGE WALKING BY WITH HIS FATHER APPROACHED ME, AND REACHED OUT HIS TOY FOR A FEW MINUTES SHARING IT WITH ME AND THEN WE PARTED. 68 YEARS LATER THAT […]